CEO Blog 4: Independence. Dependence. Inter-dependence.

8 Dec 2016

“Life gives us all a choice. A choice between being free or live a life of a creeper. What is very liberating and rewarding is to build self-dependence and grow interdependence to reach the best of our potential. Too much dependence holds us from evolving and limits one’s growth. Instead, rise. Make a choice”

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As the very first cohort of the SSE India Fellowship Programme prepares to graduate this month, I often reflect on the journey and feel overwhelmed by the experience. Let me share some of my thoughts on the journey & the way forward.

I was interacting with our fellowship participants few days ago and we discussed about the spirit of Graduation. And in hushed voice, one of them said ‘What am I going to do after the fellowship programme is completed?’ That struck me to think if we were empowering people to take actions on their enterprise or in some way have we created a relationship of dependence?

Well, that is taking it too far but still in my own mind I wanted to process this thought.

What are we doing?  We are creating a community of social entrepreneurs and peer network that binds them together in the fellowship programme, which they would miss. They do feel dependence on certain people and the programme, and this must change. And, that is what we would do to prepare them over next one month. Because, people are always not around us all the time so we must learn to be independent and this I relate to Maslow’s ‘Needs Hierarchy’ and term this form of independence like achieving self-actualization. Self-actualization is achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, and a grasp of the real world. This is very crucial in social enterprises and for social entrepreneurs.

The social entrepreneur works to solve social problems that s/he finds important to be addressed, and can only find peace by solving it. That is sometimes the only possibility to feed their own soul, which would otherwise not be satisfied. If s/he is constantly looking for others to solve it, there is an ‘underestimated self’ in the entrepreneur. S/he is on the path of transformation, creating a self motivated performer within them once they recognize the power of taking actions.

Social entrepreneurs make intentional choices, by making mindful decisions driven by their core values on what they want to do. They are bold and take risks which is the base for creating change that they want to see.

Also, along with this comes the value of leadership in them that creates the difference in approach as each one of them takes their enterprise forward. Some of them are Collaborative leaders who set aside ego and create an environment of trust in their people to work; others are Communicative leaders who lead by bringing clarity in their communication as they understand the gap in the communication cycle that had led to unintended results; some are Enabling leaders who create an enabling environment, provide adequate resources and support while allowing others to find their own solutions to the problems they may face; and others are Humble leaders who are ambitious not for personal gain, but only for the success of the organization. The element of leadership is important and crucial for entrepreneurs to make their choices.  And, this is influenced by the factor of dependence the entrepreneur exhibits.

I conclude by saying that SSE India on its path to empowering social entrepreneurs includes processes that builds self-dependence (in Gandhiji’s words, ‘self-reliance’) and ability to transform by taking actions.

This is our real journey. We are learning and learning by doing.